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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

"WILLIAM  VOK  HTJMBOLDT.                   369
It was determined in Yienna that now a balance
of power and a secure condition must be attained by
treaties or by force.   But Austria, always slow., needed
time to prepare itself.     This delay was painful, and
Napoleon's genius   showed plainly at  the first blow
how fatal a singlehanded struggle would be.    It was
now   necessary,   therefore,   to   soothe   all   doubts   in
Vienna, to give political and military securities, and
overcome all hesitation and delays.     What a field for
a Humboldt—for his intellect and his activity I     In
opinions   they   were   agreed,   but  the   leader" of the
Austrian   cabinet   would    not   be   hurried;    he   was
waiting for   the time   when,   supported   by a   -well-
equipped army, he could be sure to give a decisive
blow.    In the meantime he threw his net so skilfully
round his opponent, that he was caught in it and fell
The dallying politics of Austria in ISIS have fre-
quently, and not quite unjustly, been censured.     But
they were the chief means of confusing and ruining
Napoleon.   He treated verbally and by correspondence
with Metternich, who acted as mediator between the
antagonist parties, and could not be spared.    It was
only because he hoped to secure Austria^s alliance that
Napoleon made  a  truce   with   Prussia  and   Russia,
accepted Austrian's mediation and the peace congress
of Prague, and left all his enemies time to unite and
to   strengthen  their  forces.     Then the  "union   with
Austria was  definitively cemented,  and  Prussia and
Russia   combined  with   the "money-giving   England.
Humboldt proceeded, in the beginning of the month,
to the head-quarters of the allied powers,  and thence
to   Ratiborzitz,   a  palace of the  Duchess   of Sagan,
near Gitschin, which, since the 4<th of June, had been
the seat of the most important conferences.    Genfe
wrote to a friend in Prague, from Ratiborzatz, on the
23rd  of June:  "You know that  now by a chance
unequalled  in history, four of the first sovereigns in
Europe, (with the exception of Napoleon I) with their
cabinets, ministers, courts,  and six to eight hundred
thousand men, are  concentrated on a- narrow strip of
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